Mild conductive drying of foods

October 23, 2019

In this interview, Prof Maarten Schutyser, Associate Professor of Food Process Engineering at Wageningen University discusses the drying kinetics of contact drying processes. He will also be presenting at the upcoming EFFoST International Conference held in Rotterdam.

What is the core message of your presentation at the EFFoST2019 conference?
Drying is a crucial operation during which not only water is removed, but also product quality is created. I will present results of a recently finished PhD project in which we studied the drying kinetics of contact drying processes using an innovative lab-scale drying device. Moreover, we evaluated the drying behaviour of food products with different contact drying technologies at the pilot-scale.

What current and upcoming developments in your field are you most excited about?
Truly understanding the product formation process during drying will help to steer drying processes towards desired product quality and higher energy efficiency.  Development of advanced analytical techniques, new modelling approaches and use of larger-scale equipment is essential to tackle the scientific challenges ahead of us.

What challenges need to be tackled in your field to drive innovation or sustainability in the future?
Since 2011, I am chairman of the society of the Netherlands Working Group on Drying (NWGD), which has more than 150 members, i.e. drying experts from industry, research institutes and academia. The mission of NWGD is to stimulate the development and application of innovative and sustainable drying technologies. Our expert community is very much alive, for example on 26 November we organise our annual industrial drying symposium. 

What impact does your research/work have on societal, technical, political, and/or economic issues?
The annual energy use in Dutch industry is 80 Peta joules for drying operations. The better we understand drying processes, the easier it is to shift towards more energy-efficient drying strategies to produce powders.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with future food scientists?
As a food scientist, it is interesting to reduce complexity in your experiments and work with model food systems and laboratory equipment to understand phenomena. However, at some stage you should shift to more realistic food systems and use larger-scale equipment to confirm what you are doing makes any sense. 

Have a look at our conference programme to find out who else will be presenting at the EFFoST2019!






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